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American Water Spaniel Dogs

american water spaniel standing in the woodland american water spaniel lying on a patio


The American Water Spaniel's (AWS) origin is a mystery. It looks like a smaller version of the Irish Water Spaniel but also The Curly Coated Retriever and English Water Spaniel. It is a smallish dog with a dense water proof coat, which excels at retrieval, springing game and able to get through the thickest of undergrowth. It was carried in rowing boats to gain access to hard to reach hunting areas, so a small dog was ideal. It was bred as a hunting companion, but more recent efforts have been made to breed a more even temperament, making it a suitable pet.


As the name suggests, American Water Spaniels love water and have a well developed stamina when it comes to swimming. They like being outside and are best suited to owners who like long walks. They are tireless and happiest when smelling the ground and chasing scents. They do well in a home and are good with children and other pets, quite typical of Spaniels generally, but do tend to stick to certain members of the family. They are playful and love games, but just as happy having a nap on your lap. Some can be timid of strangers at first, so it's a good idea to get them used to as many people as possible when they are young. AWS's can be aggressive towards the same sex dogs, but early training will prevent this. They do well in Flyball, agility, obedience and field trials, anything to keep their mind and body active. They are a working dog and are easily bored, but willing to please you and are faithful and gentle. They are loving within the family and happy to get comfy on the sofa with everyone around them. They like to be the centre of attention and will bark if they are not. Barking can become a nuisance, but training at an early stage will stop this.

The double coat offers protection against cold and wet. It needs regular brushing or clipping to prevent tangles, but generally speaking it's coat is quite easy to maintain. American Water Spaniel's can be greedy and food possessive, so early training is important. Letting the dog start to eat, then taking the bowl away for a few seconds will help. Like most Spaniels, they can suffer with ear problems, so these should be regularly checked for mites/infection. Obesity can also be a problem.


The American Water Spaniel has an intelligent, trainable working temperament. As the name suggests they love water and have been bred to hunt and retrieve water fowl. That said they are good family dogs who will love to play with children. It is important to get them used to other dogs at an early stage in order to prevent timidness or possible agression in adult life.

They are also make good watchdogs who will alert you to any sounds that are unfamiliar to them.

Health Problems

Health problems that may be an issue with American Water Spaniels include canine hip dysplasia (CHD), skin problems (such as dermatitis or baldness) and cataracts.

Breed Details

  • Status: Common
  • Life Expectancy: 10 - 13 years
  • Weight: 11 - 18 kg
  • Height: 15 - 18"
  • Rare: Yes
  • Coat: Medium - Double
  • Grooming Requirements: Once a week
  • Town or Country: Either
  • Minimum Home Size: Small House
  • Minimum Garden Size: Small to Medium Garden
  • Breed Type: Gun Dog
  • Size: Medium
  • Energy Level: High
  • Exercise Required: Up to 2 hours

American Water Spaniel Pictures

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